The calendar finally flips to December this weekend, and when it does, college football’s conference championship chase begins in earnest. Here’s a look at the college football odds for this weekend’s marquee games.
Each of the NCAA’s “Power Five” conferences – the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, and Pac-12 – will crown champions on Friday and Saturday. And for all but the latter, these title tilts will have a direct impact on setting the final four-team College Football Playoff (CFP) field.
As of today, the CFP tournament would be contested by top-ranked Alabama, #2 Clemson, #3 Notre Dame, and #4 Georgia. But with the Crimson Tide taking on the Bulldogs for the SEC Championship, the Tigers faced with a relative layup in the ACC Championship, and the Fighting Irish sitting idle as an independent team, this weekend’s slate will prove decisive.
The final CFP rankings will be released December 2. But before they are, be sure to catch every minute of the five conference championship games below to find out which powerhouses will secure a coveted Playoff spot before turning your attention to the Sunday NFL betting slate.
(Saturday, December 1 at 4 p.m. EST on CBS)
Since 2011, either Alabama or Georgia have played for the SEC Championship every season save one (2013). Over that span, the Tide have dominated in the title count, racking up four wins to the Bulldogs’ one.
That lone victory occurred last year, propelling the team to an appearance in the National Championship game – which Georgia lost to, you guessed it, Alabama.
The Tide hit halftime in that game losing 13-0, but after head coach Nick Saban handed the offensive reins over to backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, the true freshman lit up the scoreboard en route to a 26-23 comeback victory. Tagovailoa tossed a game-winning touchdown pass to win it all, cementing MVP honors in a performance for the ages that was just a sign of things to come.
As the centerpiece of an Alabama attack that puts up 49.0 points per game, second only to Oklahoma (50.3), Tagovailoa has posted an unworldly stat line. With a 70.3 percent completion rate, 3,189 yards passing, and 36 touchdowns to a measly two interceptions, Tagovailoa is the odds-on favorite to win this year’s Heisman Trophy.
But before he can hoist that hardware, the sophomore sensation must continue Alabama’s legacy of SEC dominance by downing Georgia.
The game will be played in Atlanta, but home town advantage doesn’t seem to be a factor for online sportsbook Bovada, which has the Tide as huge (-14) favorites over the ‘Dawgs.
(Saturday, December 1 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC)
Clemson has played its way into the last three CFP tournaments, defeating Alabama in the National Championship game two seasons ago to avenge a title loss one year earlier.
As for Pittsburgh, the team’s last postseason victory went down in the 2013 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – so it’s no surprise to see the Panthers priced as massive (+28) underdogs here.
The Tigers have only lost four games over the last four seasons, but one of those defeats was dealt by Pittsburgh via 43-42 thriller in Death Valley. That upset marred an otherwise perfect season for Clemson, so Dabo Swinney and Co. will undoubtedly look to put a mediocre Panthers team in their place to continue this undefeated run.
(Saturday, December 1 at 8 p.m. EST on FOX)
The Buckeyes made mincemeat of archival Michigan in “The Game,” bullying the Buckeyes on both sides of the ball in a 62-39 blowout that served as the de facto Big 10 title game.
Northwestern did win three Big Ten titles between 1995 and 2000, but the Wildcats are winless in that regard since then. Focusing on the present, of their four on the year, two came against ranked teams – Notre Dame and Michigan.
Head coach Urban Meyer has his Ohio State team eyeing a third Playoff berth in five seasons, while Northwestern couldn’t beat a Michigan team the Buckeyes just destroyed by 23 points.
Accordingly, the Buckeyes are big time favorites at (-15) in this one.
(Saturday, December 1 at 12 p.m. EST on ABC)
Back in October, the Sooners found themselves trailing 45-24 in the most recent edition of the Red River Rivalry.
Oklahoma had a perfect season on the line at that point, so nobody was shocked when quarterback Kyler Murray calmly conducted three straight touchdown drives to tie it up. The Sooners wound up losing later on a last-second field goal, the only time Oklahoma tasted defeat in 2018.
The Longhorns are riding a three-game winning streak of their own, but a Texas team that couldn’t beat unranked Oklahoma State deserves to be tabbed (+8) dogs to the Sooners.
(Friday, November 30 at 8 p.m. EST on FOX)
In the most competitive of the Power Five conference championships, at least in terms of the point spread, a pair of paper tigers take the field vying for the Pac-12 title.
Washington and Utah have both suffered bad losses to unranked bottom-feeders, and neither has a chance to parlay a conference championship banner into a playoff berth. But the Utes had their chance at home earlier in the year, and they lost in lackluster fashion 21-7 to the Huskies, so Utah gets (+6) on a neutral field.